Picture used for representational purpose only
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP-led NDA has drawn a blank in the assembly elections, failing to retain even its lone seat Nemom, billed as BJP’s Gujarat in Kerala by its party leaders. Though the vote shares of political parties are yet to be known, BJP leaders are not optimistic of the party improving its performance.
The party has, however, managed to end as runners-up in nine seats. In Manjeswaram, though party state president K Surendran put up a strong fight, he was defeated by IUML’s candidate by a margin of 745 votes. Surendran had lost the constituency by a margin of 85 votes in the last elections.
Surendran contested from Konni as well this time but was relegated to the third position. PM Narendra Modi and several other national leaders had campaigned for him here.
The real jolt came from Nemom where BJP had opened its account in the 2016 assembly elections. There was a belief that BJP’s dominance has grown in the constituency over the years and the party used to corroborate such claims by citing votes polled in the Lok Sabha and local body elections in 2019 and 2020, respectively. However, in the tightly-contested fight, former CPM MLA from Nemom, V Sivankutty won by over 5,750 votes. Congress candidate K Muraleedharan emerged as a spoilsport for BJP by winning a chunk of the majority community votes. Soon after the declaration of results, BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan said communal polarisation and a secret understanding between CPM and Congress led to his defeat.
The party had betted big on E Sreedharan who was fielded in Palakkad. After maintaining a comfortable lead in many parts of the constituency where Congress has a traditional edge, the 88-yearold technocrat conceded defeat to sitting Congress MLA Shafi Parambil who won by a margin of 3,863 votes.
In Kazhakkoottam, where BJP candidate Sobha Surendran raised the Sabarimala issue aggressively against sitting MLA and devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran, the party finished second. The minister whom BJP held responsible for the chaos in Sabarimala retained the seat by a margin of 23,497 votes.